About Cage Match
We’re back with an entirely non-human bracket of competitors in Cage Match 2018: Creature Feature! Any questions?
What the hell is Cage Match?
Great question. A long time ago, on an internet far, far away, there was a website called Suvudu, which had been founded by some editors at Del Rey as a place to nerd out about sci-fi and fantasy. In the barely remembered year 2010, those editors decided it’d be a real kick to pit their favorite SF/F characters against each other in a fight to the death, and it’d be even MORE of a kick if they brought in some authors to write short scenes illustrating how they thought those fights might play out. And on top of that, they invited users to come vote on the outcome of those fights.
And apparently you all liked it, because we’re still doing it eight years later.
Because it’s fun.
Fine. How does this work?
We’ve changed formats a few times over the years, but here are the basics: We start with a seeded single-elimination bracket of 32 characters. We pair those characters off into 16 matches. Then we ask an esteemed group of writers to imagine how those matches would go. We post the resulting stories, then you come and read them and decide who you think would win, and then you vote. We go and figure out the next round’s matches based on the winners in the polls, and then the whole process starts over again. After four rounds of this, we’re left with one solitary winner on the battlefield, standing alone among the debris and corpses. (Or something slightly less dramatic than that; it really depends on the year.)
Who picked these characters?
Your dedicated team of Unbound Worlds editorial staffers sits down with a group of editors, publicists, and other nerds and brainstorms a whole bunch of characters who fit that year’s theme. Then we whittle the list down to 32 characters. The logic behind which characters get included and which get axed depends on a few factors: we don’t want to repeat characters who’ve competed in previous years (at least when we can help it – some characters are too much fun to resist), we try to limit the number of ridiculously OP characters we include, and we try to keep a balance of classic and new characters, so there’s something for everybody.
Why didn’t you include [my favorite character]?!
I don’t know some of these characters at all.
That’s not a question. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: here’s a primer on all the first round characters. Show up on March 5th to read the Round 1 matches and you can learn even more about them! Reading is magical that way. But to make it even MORE magical, we’re running a sweeps where you can win a library of books featuring all 32 characters plus some nerdy swag courtesy of Geek Fuel. Enter here!
Who do I complain to about the seeding?
Well, nobody, preferably, but to clarify: Seeding is at the discretion of the site’s editors. As for matches, we used to use a standard system where seed 1 faces off with seed 32, 2 vs. 31, 3 vs. 30, etc. This year we decided to switch it up and set up the matches using a blind draw method, because it was no fun watching seeds 25-32 get immediately knocked out after Round 1.
How did you do the blind draw?
We used the very scientific method of pulling numbers out of a hat.
How does the voting work?
You can vote once in every match of every round. Pretty standard voting mechanism, really.
Did you rig this?
No. Why would you even ask that?
So I have to check back here every week if I want to see the next round?
Not necessarily! You can sign up for Cage Match newsletter updates above.
Why doesn’t a new round start as soon as the previous round closes?
Because we need time to actually write the new round’s matches. We’re not wizards. (Unfortunately.)
Who’s writing the matches this year?
That’s a surprise! But in past years, we’ve had George R.R. Martin, Pat Rothfuss (several times!), Naomi Novik, Pierce Brown, Lev Grossman, and so many more. George R.R. Martin has been known to keep an eye on his characters’ progress over on LiveJournal, and Brandon Sanderson has published his own take on the tourney. It’s a blast.
What do I do if my favorite character is losing?
Well, assuming you already voted for him/her/them/it (you did vote, right?), then go rally your friends! Tweet at the author! Get out the vote!
What if the person who wrote the match prediction is REALLY WRONG about something and I need to tell them how wrong they are?
Let me tell you about this wonderful new invention called the comments section! It’s up and running at the bottom of every single match post. And you don’t have to just comment when you think something’s wrong. Make the case there, too, for why your peers should vote with you. Debate away!
How do I find past years’ tournaments?
Can I send you ideas for next year’s Cage Match?
What if I have a complaint?
You can direct those to this guy.
Oh right, the Space Cat! Whatever happened to the Space Cat?
I don’t want to talk about it.